No stats – but please listen!

Dear Parents,

I have to let you in on one of the depressing parts of our job as campus ministers. When we walk through dorms these days we are bombarded by young men in coma like trances playing video and or computer games for literally DAYS on end – no eating, no sleeping, no speaking… just mind numbing gaming.

These sweet, wholesome looking boys are rotting from the inside out. Their minds and hearts are dissolving, leaving them empty – prone to apathy, sloth, and isolation. Sadder still is that most showed up here already fully addicted to gaming. They are used to spending hours upon hours in basements and locked bedrooms losing themselves in role play games where they wield guns and slash  zombies with knives.

Most students will say they’ve been gaming since they were very young. Of course, at first they played “harmless” games like football and Super Mario brothers — then slowly moved on to more mature games – but by then parents had usually stopped supervising the media intake.

College students addicted to gaming, who can choose to play day in and day out, do just that. They skip class. They skip meals. They skip life.

As the parent of a young son, I already see troubling signs in kids his age – 6!! I don’ t have any stats to suggest what this means for their brains, development, society… But I do know what I see in the college dorms these days and it is frightening.

Let’s pull the plug for our kids. Let’s be counter-cultural and force our kids to find things to do that don’t numb them or “keep them quiet.” Let’s make them play with other kids. Let’s make them use their imagination and play outside with, gasp – STICKS. Let’s let them be noisy and active and so tired out they need to consume mass amounts of food and sleep hard at night. Let’s let them be a little too tan and scraped up and scruffy.

Or, let’s let them read books or do math worksheets or work jigsaw puzzles until they need glasses. I know not all kids are outdoorsy or like a lot of activity.

Or…and I know I’m gonna frighten some of you – lets make them work.

(and a hush fell over the internet….)

Get them involved in what needs done around your house…dishes, trash, errands, putting away groceries, cooking (Some boys like to cook. Did you know that?), lawn mowing, tree trimming, flower watering, laundry, car washing, fence painting, oil changing, vacuuming, heck – hole digging. What ever!

Let’s try to make video games a rainy day, or special time with dad activity! Let’s help them find ways to be heros and winners and conquerors in real life – not just on-screen.

Please parents!!! If you have a video gaming devise or let your kids play computer games – only let them play WITH YOU, or for a set time limit, and never when better options are available and never, ever all alone behind a closed door.

And now I will get off my soap box. Still friends?

4 thoughts on “No stats – but please listen!

  1. Kristin says:

    Jess, I am a little behind on my blog reading, but I didn’t want you to go comment-less and think we weren’t your friends! Thanks for saying this! I have always hoped that we could keep our teens from holing up in their bedrooms too often, and I am sad when I think of so many who are holed up gaming for huge chunks of their lives. We are pretty strict about it around here already, but thanks for the reminder to be diligent. May our sons be leaders, and our daughters not have to marry guys who are addicted to technology!

  2. Lynnette says:

    I would have to agree with you….and yet I too am a parent of a gaming 21yo son. My 8yo, thank the Lord, is too intent on getting outside daily (even in this 112° heat!) that he’s not a concern. But, my middle child, the 21yo, is a concern. When it has gotten to the point that I send him out of the house on a ‘go get your brother at so-n-so’s house’ just to give him SOME exercise it is too much. But, luckily he knows he’s been spending too much time gaming and is now weaning himself off. Or…. perhaps my ‘I’m not supporting you any longer’ statement is a precursor to his change in ‘living’? Who knows, but I am thankful he is now aware what he’s been doing for a year and is working on changing that. And I will help too. It is a start.
    Good article and thanks to M.Dunham for sharing your post (directed here from her blog, Half Pint House).

    • Lynnette says:

      I forgot to add… even though my son is a gamer he does help out around the house. So now a little more help will be given w/our new ‘start’. 🙂

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